The Papers of Henry Laurens

[Page 405]

Council of Safety to Edward Thornbrough


In answer to Yours Letter of Yesterday's Date, the General Committee think proper to inform you, that they have not refused a Supply of Provisions to the King's Ships in this Harbour, nor have they taken one Step to prevent their Watering. The hostile[Page 406] Dispositions which the Commander of those Ships has for some Time past shewn towards this Colony, by imprisoning its Pilots, affording Sanctuary to a Traitor, Seizing its Seamen, dismantling its principal Fortification, stopping private Property, and firing upon the Persons of its Inhabitants who were not only peaceable but unarmed, and driven from the Shore, do make it necessary, in their Opinion, to alter the Mode of Supply. And as you have declared, that you do not mean to leave the Station, it can be no Disadvantage to His Majesty's Ships to receive their Provisions from Day to Day in this warm Climate.
You are pleased to assert, that we have taken the absolute Government of this Province into our Hands. Let it suffice as an Answer to you, Sir, that we deny the Charge_ But you may depend we shall notwithstanding any Threats take every necessary Step in our Power for securing our Property and preserving Peace and good Order in this His Majesty's Government.

By order of the Council of Safety

Henry Laurens, President

Copy, HL Papers, ScHi; addressed below close "Captain Edward Th"; no date; docketed "Copy / To Capt Edward"; numbered "4".
[1.] This letter is undated. Sept. 19, 1775 is offered as the probable date. This document fits into an exchange that took place between HL and Edward Thornbrough, captain of the Tamar, over the question of how and when British vessels in Charleston harbor would be supplied. On September 15, the Council of Safety ordered Fenwicke Bull, the Crown's agent victualler, to halt the flow of provisions to the ships. The following day the ban was lifted but supply was limited to daily consumption. Drayton, Memoirs, II, 53-54. Thornbrough's letter of Sept. 18, 1775, is not extant; Drayton purports to quote from it but has apparently confused it with Edward Thornbrough's letter of Nov. 1, 1775.